Planning route from Brisbane to Darwin via Alice Springs

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 22:06
ThreadID: 108454 Views:1815 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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Hi guys,

I am visiting Australia for a while and plan to travel from Brisbane via Alice Springs to Darwin in August. I was hoping to get some more ideas, tips and advice for the route planned as well as the one or other secret spot to visit or stop on the way or even detour :-) Or I under/overestimate times and distances for a day? Anyways... I will be thankful for any help.

5. August 2014 Brisbane (City Sightseeing)
6. August 2014 Brisbane (City Sightseeing)
7. August 2014 Brisbane (City Sightseeing)
8. August 2014 Brisbane > Sunshine Coast > Hervey Bay ...300km
9. August 2014 Harvey Bay > Fraser Island (Camping, Beaches etc.)
10. August 2014 Fraser Island (Camping, Beaches etc.)
11. August 2014 Fraser Island > Gladstone > Rockhampton ...400km
12. August 2014 Rockhampton > Carnarvon Gorge ...400km
13. August 2014 Carnarvon > Emerald > Barcaldine > Longreach (Stockmans Hall of fame, Qantas Museum)...620km
14. August 2014 Longreach > Winton > Kynuna > Cloncurry > Mount Isa ...650km
15. August 2014 Mount Isa > Boulia > Birdsville ...700km
16. August 2014 Birdsville > Simpson Desert
17. August 2014 Simpson Desert
18. August 2014 Simpson Desert
19. August 2014 Simpson Desert > Alice Springs [roughly 1000 km from Birdsville through Simpson Desert to Alice Springs?]
20. August 2014 Alice Springs
21. August 2014 Alice Springs > Ayers Rock/Ulluru ...475km
22. August 2014 Ayers Rock/Ulluru
23. August 2014 Ayers Rock/Ulluru > Kings Canyon ...325km
24. August 2014 Kings Canyon
25. August 2014 Kings Canyon> Tropic Of Capricorn Marker >Three Ways Roadhouse ...500km
26. August 2014 Three Ways Roadhouse > Mataranka Thermal Springs > Elsey National Park
27. August 2014 Elsey National Park > Cutta Cutta Caves Park Nitmiluk Nationalpark ...150km
28. August 2014 Nitmiluk Nationalpark > Kakadu Nationalpark ...325km
29. August 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark
30. August 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark
31. August 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark > Litchfield Nationalpark ...300km
1. September 2014 Litchfield Nationalpark
2. September 2014 Litchfield Nationalpark
3. September 2014 Litchfield Nationalpark > Darwin ...120km
4. September 2014 Darwin
5. September 2014 Darwin

in total this would be around 7000km within 31 days and probably almost 100 hours of driving.

I am driving a 4WD and setting it up for travelling across the Simpson Desert (water, fuel, uhf radio etc.). Just in case you wondered :-)

Cheers

Philipp
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 07:26

Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 07:26
Philipp

Your plan can certainly be executed, but you may want to drop a couple of things off as you haven't allocated adequate time to see them or I question are they worth seeing.

There is no point going to Carnarvon Gorge if you only plan to overnight there. To see the gorge you have to allow one full day for the 24km return walk up the gorge floor.
If your plan doesn't allow for this, then skip it all together and save yourself the approx. 5 hours of return travel detour from getting to Longreach. It is a shame to miss Carnarvon Gorge, as it is the most beautiful National Park off the coast in Qld.

You won't have a great deal of time in Longreach from your planned schedule, so you won't have time to see both mentioned features, probably only one and quickly.

Not sure why you plan to take a dog leg up to Mt Isa, you may have specific reasons, again I would consider missing this leg and heading straight from Longreach to Birdsville, or from Winton to Birdsville and see the Dinosaur quarry.
Missing Mt Isa may give you a bit more time at your other locations such as Longreach and or Carnarvon Gorge.

Your allocated time in Central Australia is about right, make sure you drop into Ormiston Gorge on your way to Alice from Kings Canyon. The four hour Ormiston Pound walk is well worth doing, especially as for much of your time you will only be seeing things from behind a windscreen.

Sounds like you will cram a lot into your 36 days. Have a Plan B in case you have some form of delays caused by weather or mechanical problems, as I am assuming you have an international flight to make out of Australia shortly after Darwin.

Have a great time

Mark
AnswerID: 534837

Follow Up By: Member - BrisVegas - Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 08:55

Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 08:55
Agree about skipping Mt Isa. It's a long way out of the way.Longreach is a nicer town and it's a short run up the road to Winton and then you can drive back to Birdsville via Lark Quarry.
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FollowupID: 818593

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 09:57

Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 09:57
Philipp,

At Winton, it is worthwhile going to see the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, about 22 kms out of town. A visit here would compliment a look at Lark Quarry. Also the Waltzing Matilda Centre is good, and you can get a good feed there too.

Not a lot to see going up to Cloncurry/Mt Isa, unless you particularly wanted to see these towns. From Lark Quarry, there are a couple of ways you can go to Birdsville. Going through Boulia will give you plenty of bitumen, whereas going down through Diamantina Lakes N/P, will be all dirt/gravel roads. You could also travel from Lark Quarry to Jundah, Windorah, Betoota then Birdsville.

Also, after your Simpson Desert crossing, if you were to travel from Finke to Kulgera, then up to Erldunda Roadhouse, this would save you going to the Alice, then back tracking to Ayers Rock/Yulara.

Looks like being a good trip,

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 534845

Reply By: PGU - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 18:51

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 18:51
Revised the plan... any comments?

6. August 2014 Brisbane (City Sightseeing)
7. August 2014 Brisbane (City Sightseeing)
8. August 2014 Brisbane > Sunshine Coast > Hervey Bay ...300km
9. August 2014 Fraser Island (Camping, Beaches etc.)
10. August 2014 Fraser Island (Camping, Beaches etc.)
11. August 2014 Fraser Island > Gladstone > Carnarvon Gorge...750km
12. August 2014 Carnarvon Gorge
13. August 2014 Carnarvon > Emerald > Barcaldine > Longreach (Stockmans Hall of fame, Qantas Museum)...700km
14. August 2014 Longreach
15. August 2014 Longreach > Winton (Dinosaurs) > Diamantiana NP ... 600km
16. August 2014 Diamantina NP > Birdsville ... 400km
17. August 2014 Simpson Desert
18. August 2014 Simpson Desert
19. August 2014 Simpson Desert
20. August 2014 Simpson Desert
21. August 2014 Dalhousie Springs
22. August 2014 Dalhousie Springs > Finke > Uluru ...800km
23. August 2014 Uluru
24. August 2014 Uluru > Kings Canyon ... 350km
25. August 2014 Kings Canyon
26. August 2014 Kings Canyon > Ormiston Gorge ...250km
27. August 2014 Ormiston Gorge > Alice Springs > Tropic of Capricorn Marker > Three Ways Roadhouse ... 650km
28. August 2014 Three Ways Roadhouse > Mataranka Thermal Springs > Elsey NP ... 575km
29. August 2014 Elsey NP > Cutta Cutta Caves Park > Nitmiluk NP ...150km
30. August 2014 Nitmiluk NP > Kakadu Nationalpark ...325km
31. August 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark
1. September 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark
2. September 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark
3. September 2014 Kakadu Nationalpark > Darwin ...120km
4. September 2014 Darwin
5. September 2014 Darwin
AnswerID: 535272

Follow Up By: rumpig - Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 21:06

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 at 21:06
2 days looking around Brisbane city is too much IMHO, forget the city and explore some of the local surrounding places. I live in Brisbane and am struggling to think what's worth looking at for 2 days, can think of plenty of nicer day trip places i'd prefer to see other then the city (Border Ranges National Park or Condamine Gorge / Queen Mary Falls / Governors Chair Lookout area for example). Be sure and go to the Mount Cootha lookout at night time when in Brisbane though, great view from up there.
When coming from Brisbane to go to Fraser Island, you don't need to go toHervey Bay (unless you want to for some reason). Turn off the highway as you come into Gympie and head for Rainbow, then catch the barge across at Inskip Point. The one upside to going to Hervey Bay is you don't need to time the tides with where the barge lands to drive across the middle of the island, when leaving from Inskip it's best to time your arrival on Fraser Island for about 2 hours before lowtide to help with the drive North up the island. The moon phases and wind conditions make a differance to this general rule of 2 hours before lowtide travel, it can easily be done earlier then 2 hours if the conditions are right.
Haven't checked the fares of late for the barges from both Hervey Bay or Inskip, but Inskip used to be cheaper and there's no booking required, you just rock up and drive on. Leaving from Hervey Bay requires a prior booking usually unless they aren't busy.
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FollowupID: 819152

Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 09:14

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 at 09:14
Skip Brisbane time, get outta town :)
Heck, as much as I love Hervey Bay / Fraser Is, if you're only spending one full day there, I would consider leaving that too.

3 days Simmo Crossing ?
Fairly big days, a little rushed, but possible doing French Line (if all goes well).

A possible detour to Chambers Pillar if going Mt Dare to Alice up the old Ghan route, and after that go via West MacDonnell Ranges and Palm Valley are worth a look on the way to Kings Canyon and Uluru.
AnswerID: 535285

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